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Everyone seems to be talking about Diablo 4 and, well, there’s a very good reason why: we’ve been waiting for over a decade to once again step foot in Sanctuary and sink in hundreds upon hundreds of hours on slaying, looting, and clearing out dungeons (amongst other things).
The game is slated to release on June 6th, 2023 for PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S|X. The only console missing is the Nintendo Switch.
And that, in short, should come as no surprise.
The Nintendo Switch is by far the weakest system of the bunch and, frankly, was underpowered even when it first came out — let alone now. It’s powerful enough to run most cross-platform titles that aren’t too demanding, but by no means can it compete on even footing with what Sony and Microsoft have to offer.
Still, Diablo 3: Eternal Collection was released on Switch in late 2018, so it’s not like Blizzard doesn’t want to reach as many players as it possibly can. Heck, even Diablo 2: Resurrected got a Switch port, so one could argue that the writing’s on the wall.
Those games, however, are nowhere near as large and visually complex as the latest installment.
We’re not saying it’s impossible (far from it), but rather that numerous hardware-related limitations stand in the way. They can all, in theory, be circumvented, but such a thing requires time, resources, and a tremendous amount of effort.
Blizzard is currently laser-focused on delivering the best possible Diablo 4 experience on all last- and current-gen platforms; a Switch port — while definitely probable — is by no means a priority at this point.
Diablo 4 on Switch — Possible But Unlikely
The Nintendo Switch, despite its underpowered nature, could definitely handle Diablo 4. It wouldn’t be as beautiful, it wouldn’t run as well, and it sure as heck wouldn’t be as immersive, but it could run at a stable 30 FPS — with a long list of downgrades and limitations.
Here’s the thing though: the Switch is built on an entirely different architecture as opposed to any of today’s consoles. Porting Diablo 4 (or any other game of its size and scope) to Nintendo’s insanely popular console, therefore, would be quite a complicated task.
And, depending on the way you look at it, it might not be worth the hassle.
As far as Diablo 4 goes, the Switch definitely wouldn’t provide the best and most seamless gaming experience. Slaying some beats and looting whilst on-the-go sure does sound like a spectacular thing, but it would nonetheless come with a myriad of limitations and the game itself almost surely wouldn’t be as epic and beautiful as it is on any other platform.
Even if Blizzard intends to bring Diablo 4 to more platforms, that probably isn’t going to happen in the next, say, four or five years, at which point the Nintendo Switch will most definitely be way past its life cycle.
Which brings us to our next point — and it’s a wholly important one:
Could Diablo 4 Come Out For the Nintendo Switch Pro?
That’s almost a given at this point. Rumors of a Switch Pro have been circulating the web for multiple years now and, with Nintendo’s current offering being vastly underpowered when compared to its competition, it’s fair to assume that the company is hard at work on delivering a much more powerful successor in, say, the next six to twelve months.
The Nintendo Switch has a very different demographic as opposed to, say, a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series S|X, but it is nonetheless important for Nintendo to level the playing field.
The Switch Pro — or whatever it ends up being called — is bound to be a lot more powerful, and it’ll also supposedly employ NVIDIA’s truly incredible DLSS upscaler. That addition alone would serve as a tremendous boon and would no doubt allow the Switch Pro to compete on even footing with, say, a PlayStation 4 — if not even surpass it in terms of computing prowess.
That might not sound like that big of an upgrade, but it’s nonetheless a tremendous one given the console’s petite frame and thermal headroom.
The Switch Pro doesn’t have to compete with the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series S|X from a sheer horsepower perspective — it just needs to come close and to offer a somewhat comparable gaming experience.
With these upgrades in mind, Diablo 4 (which already supports both DLSS and FSR) would both look and run a lot better than it would on the regular Nintendo Switch, so there’s a very real chance that Blizzard’s simply waiting for Nintendo to send in an SDK (Software Development Kit) before getting to work.
In other words: we’re bound to get Diablo 4 on the successor of the Nintendo Switch. If this console were to hit the market in Q4 2023 or, say, Q1 2024, Blizzard could have the game ready by 2025 at the earliest.
This is just an estimate, though, so keep that in mind.
Either way, Nintendo’s hybrid console (and its inevitable heir) is simply way too popular for Blizzard to ignore.